Melbourn Village College – not far from Cambridge – has decided to ditch its Latin motto: “Nisi dominus frustra”. And I guess you can see why. It’s a contraction of the first line of Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain”… so you might translate the three Latin words of the motto something like “Without the Lord, frustration”, I guess. A touch pious you might think, and a bit Judaeo-Christian. But I can’t see that any world faith could seriously disagree and, anyway, it’s served the city of Edinburgh well enough for the last few hundred years.
They have replaced it (after a student vote, it seems) with what sounds to me more like an advertising jingle: “Inspiring Minds” (which is bound to look “so 2011” in a few years time that it too will soon be ditched). According to the Acting Principal, they wanted a motto that was more relevant to the students. In the current economic climate, Latin was “largely irrelevant” in helping the students find work.